The project aimed to significantly increase the amount of intermittent solar power used for electricity generation by developing tools that combine weather and climate forecasting with strategies to manage large amounts of solar and wind energy in the main electricity grid.
Given the primary role played by non-renewable fossil fuel resources (e.g., coal and gas), the weather’s primary impact within the electricity industry is electrical demand, with a lesser impact seen in rainfall patterns and coal fired power station cooling requirements. But as greater proportions of renewable energies, such as solar and wind, are incorporated into the electricity mix, the weather and climate will begin to have an increasing impact on the supply-side also. New advances in meteorology and forecasting methods will be required that allow us to actively and effectively manage the impact of weather on both the demand, and renewable energy generation technologies, making them a more economically feasible option.
The Project carried out data analysis and modelling to provide crucial information and decision support tools to assist in the deployment of solar technologies in a cost effective manner and facilitate synergistic operation of solar and wind technologies. This project explored the relationships between predictable weather patterns and the generation characteristics of key intermittent solar renewable technologies. Our results lead to metrics for site suitability for these technologies and, moreover, supported the development of a real-time forecasting scheme for solar renewable system output from forecasts of weather patterns and system performance data in line with National Electricity Market dispatch timeframes.